by Angeliska on May 1, 2013
Calloo, callay, it’s May Day! I’ve been fighting off the annual Scorpio moon lethargy that apparently strikes me every year – strange but true, I find myself struggling to climb a seemingly endless mountain of correspondence, household chores, gardening et cetera and never seeming to make much progress in my Sisyphean toils! Finally, I just gave myself three days off to come back to myself, have some quiet time to hack away at my gargantuan to-do list and feel better in general about everything. I feel like I am finally emerging from the cocoon I enveloped myself in last year: a full cycle’s turning, and here I am, pumping blood into my sticky wings, preparing for flight. It’s taken some doing to pull the shreds of tattered chrysalis from my eyes, to shed my old skin – stubborn bits of shroud still cling to me here and there. I am trying to be more patient with myself, to give myself the time that I need to sit a breathe a bit, to unfurl slowly, to learn what this next chapter is all about. The recent Pink Moon waxed full on the 25th, and we honored it with a Beltaine bonfire, traditional spring songs and ritual. The past two full moons (in Libra and then in Scorpio) have cast a bright and discerning eye upon relationships and partners, old and new. I have learned more about myself and the way that I engage in my relationships in the past six months than I ever did in the past six years. Or, perhaps the learning was happening then too – building up layers of sedimentary understanding and awareness. I’m learning much from my mistakes. I won’t say any of it has been easy, but it has been enormously rewarding to put these lessons into practice and see them work. Last year’s Scorpio full moon was all about letting things go. I can stand back now, and see how hard that process was for me, how much I’ve had to let go of this year – and yet, now, I’ve come to have a modicum of peace, even for some of those more painful endings. I wasn’t sure how the eclipse and all the various intense celestial aspects would affect me personally, but was fairly relieved to have a bit of calm, a little room to breathe and grow in the wake of this stormy past year. And what’s more – what a wonder it is to have found some happiness there, as well. Beltane is a time of rejoicing, of celebrating – a time to take your lover by the hand and lead them out to the fields, out to the woods, to do “that which love commands”! I’ve been meditating much on two cards from the tarot that have come up a lot of me this year, and that are also associated with Beltane: the 4 of wands and The Lovers. The 4 of wands is a favorite cards of mine: it’s such a beautiful image of celebration, of what happens when you set your energy and passion forth to build a solid foundation for your projects and endeavors. This card is all about setting the table, building the altar, garlanding your life with flowers. It’s clearing off your desk and lighting candles in your studio. Creating a joyous and harmonious space to do the work you were meant to do. Without the stability of the four, wands fire energy can be ungrounded, formless, all talk – the four says, “I have arrived! I belong, and I’m here to stay (and celebrate!)”. It’s the wedding – whether between two lovers, or between you and your commitment to your passion, to whatever it is you love most – be it your work, your creative path, your home, community or family. In honor of this card, I finally cleaned up my absurdly messy house – I cleared the rooms, and burned sage and copal and rose petals. Making the space ready for good work to happen in! The Lovers card has been on the altar in my studio for a long time, and a few months ago, I almost took it down – deciding that I’d had enough of trying to figure out this card in my own personal life. The universe had other plans for me, and I’m still here grappling with that eternal question: the union of opposites, the alchemical marriage, learning what the dualities have to teach each other in that cosmic, tantric firework-sparkling explosion of pheromones and spirit. Turns out it’s not as simple as I once thought – no surprise that humans have been trying to figure out what this love thing is for centuries, and perhaps are no closer to having any real answers… Though I will say this – I have learned more about love and relationships (not just romantic ones, either) from my counselor and teacher, Jason Fischer. He wrote a book that came out a few months ago, that have been a major part of of me understanding so much better how to make my relationships a lot less painful and a lot more extraordinary.
I highly recommend spending some time with this one if you’ve got questions about love and relationships: The Two Truths about Love: The Art and Wisdom of Extraordinary Relationships
Also, in the spirit of that sexy (now waning) full moon, and this fertile and lusty love festival, a beautiful love letter from Henry Miller to Anais Nin, showing us how it’s done: Now that is how you write a Love Letter
“Full Pink Moon – April This name came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names for this month’s celestial body include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn.” – from the Farmer’s Almanac
Some rundowns on the celestial significance of this Full Moon and eclipse, from a few of my favorite astrologer/writers:
Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse in Scorpio April 25th 2013 from the always wonderful Mystic Mamma
Lunar Eclipse in Scorpio – April 2013 – Testing Times from Leah Whitehorse, who is a brilliant.
Some history & lore of Beltane…
Beltane, and its counterpart Samhain, divide the year into its two primary seasons, winter (Dark Part) and summer (Light Part). As Samhain is about honoring Death, Beltane, its counter part, is about honoring Life. It is the time when the sun is fully released from his bondage of winter and able to rule over summer and life once again.
Beltane, like Samhain, is a time of “no time” when the veils between the two worlds are at their thinnest. No time is when the two worlds intermingle and unite and the magic abounds! It is the time when the Faeries return from their winter respite, carefree and full of faery mischief and faery delight. On the night before Beltane, in times past, folks would place rowan branches at their windows and doors for protection, many otherworldly occurrences could transpire during this time of “no time”. Traditionally on the Isle of Man, the youngest member of the family gathers primroses on the eve before Beltane and throws the flowers at the door of the home for protection. In Ireland it is believed that food left over from May Eve must not be eaten, but rather buried or left as an offering to the faery instead. Much like the tradition of leaving of whatever is not harvested from the fields on Samhain, food on the time of no time is treated with great care.
When the veils are so thin it is an extremely magical time, it is said that the Queen of the Faeries rides out on her white horse. Roving about on Beltane eve She will try to entice people away to the Faeryland. Legend has it that if you sit beneath a tree on Beltane night, you may see the Faery Queen or hear the sound of Her horse’s bells as She rides through the night. Legend says if you hide your face, She will pass you by but if you look at Her, She may choose you. There is a Scottish ballad of this called Thomas the Rhymer, in which Thomas chooses to go the Faeryland with the Queen and has not been seen since.
The beginning of summer heralds an important time, for the winter is a difficult journey and weariness and disheartenment set in, personally one is tired down to the soul. In times past the food stocks were low; variety was a distant memory. The drab non-color of winter’s end perfectly represents the dullness and fatigue that permeates on so many levels to this day. We need Beltane, as the earth needs the sun, for our very Spirit cries out for the renewal of summer jubilation.
Beltane marks that the winter’s journey has passed and summer has begun, it is a festival of rapturous gaiety as it joyfully heralds the arrival of summer in her full garb. Beltane, however, is still a precarious time, the crops are still very young and tender, susceptible to frost and blight. As was the way of ancient thought, the Wheel would not turn without human intervention. People did everything in their power to encourage the growth of the Sun and His light, for the Earth will not produce without the warm love of the strong Sun. Fires, celebration and rituals were an important part of the Beltane festivities, as to insure that the warmth of the Sun’s light would promote the fecundity of the earth.
Beltane marks the passage into the growing season, the immediate rousing of the earth from her gently awakening slumber, a time when the pleasures of the earth and self are fully awakened. It signals a time when the bounty of the earth will once again be had. May is a time when flowers bloom, trees are green and life has again returned from the barren landscape of winter, to the hope of bountiful harvests, not too far away, and the lighthearted bliss that only summer can bring.
Beltane translated means “fire of Bel” or “bright fire” – the “bale-fire”.
– from witchvox.com
Chloe – Ellen Rogers I love Ellen’s work so, so much – she is magic.
One year, I hope to set up an actual Maypole for dancing around with ribbons, but until then singing around the bel-fire suffices nicely. We sang Hal-an-tow (the term “halan” means “calends,” or first of the month, and “tow” means “garland”.) and the Staines Morris song. Amy Annelle taught us the words and lead us in the singing of these sacred songs.
“The green calendar of spring has many songs. dances and shows, particularly around the opening days of May. Here and there are clear traces of old cults and superstitions (well-dressing against droughts, etc.) but generally their original meaning is lost. So the customs are transformed into ritual spectacles, festivities, distractions, opportunities for a good time, such as the old May Games that once comprised four sections: the election and procession of the May king and queen: a sword or Morris dance of disguised men; a hobby horse dance; a Robin Hood play. The Hal-an-Tow song was sung for the procession that ushered in the summer.”
Hal-an-tow, jolly rumbalow
We were up long before the day-O
To welcome in the summer,
To welcome in the May-O
For summer is a-coming in
And winter’s gone away-O
“Come ye young men, come along
With your music, dance and song
Bring your lasses in your hands
For tis that which love commands
Then to the Maypole haste away
For ’tis now our holiday
It is the choice time of the year
For the violets now appear
Now the rose receives its birth
And the pretty primrose decks the earth”
– Staines Morris Dance
– Shirley Collins – Staines Morris
Wonderland : The Pink Saint by Kirsty Mitchell
“Kirsty Mitchell’s late mother Maureen was an English teacher who spent her life inspiring generations of children with imaginative stories and plays. Following Maureen’s death from a brain tumour in 2008, Kirsty channelled her grief into her passion for photography. She retreated behind the lens of her camera and created Wonderland, an ethereal fantasy world. The photographic series began as a small summer project but grew into an inspirational creative journey.’Real life became a difficult place to deal with, and I found myself retreating further into an alternative existence through the portal of my camera,’ said the artist.”
– Woman, 36, who lost mother to brain cancer creates breathtaking fantasy land photo series in her memory
These two images call up the Queen of May for me, the priestess of all that is blossoming, and the wildness of sap rising, Persephone returned to the garden after months int he underworld.
Wonderland : The Beautiful Blindness of Devotion by Kirsty Mitchell
I love this image of the Congo hills made pepto-bismol – Mosse’s work is really amazing:
“Irish photographer Richard Mosse is known for his restraining and highly aestheticised views of sites associated with violence and fear, such as his 2008 depictions of the war in Iraq, and his large-scale photographs of aeroplane crash sites. For his new series, Infra, Mosse used Kodak Aerochrome – an infra-red film designed in the 1940s to assist the U.S. military in detecting camouflage – to photograph the people and landscape of the Eastern Congo. The film reveals a spectrum of light beyond what the human eye can perceive, turning the lush, green landscape of the Congo into a bubblegum pink. The photographs investigate the severe circumstances within which the people of the Eastern Congo live and draw our attention to the complex social and political dynamics of this region of the world.”
Who knew that inside this flower exists a magical being? Well, now you know!
My friend Lily Rose Love wrote this today, and it was too wonderful not to share here:
“On May first when I was a little girl my folks and I would make up baskets and baskets – lots of little baskets of flowers and drive the seven miles into town to surprise old ladies. I don’t know if they made up this tradition, or if anyone else did this, but we would go up to the houses where we knew little old ladies lived all by themselves, leave the bouquets on the porch or hanging from the doorknob, ring the bell, and then run and hide in the bushes. Sometimes they were confused, sometimes they seemed to be expecting it, but they were always so happy and all smiles when my dad and I popped up out of their hedges with our matching blonde curls. Happy May Day.”
Dance in the gardens, lovelies. Hop over the bonfire and make a bright wish. Take your lover by the hand.
Here are a few choice soundtracks for doing just that:
Beltanes and moons of yore: